Uncommon Sense
Aesthetics After Marcuse

Craig Leonard

Published by MIT Press, 2022
ISBN 9780262371681

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In Uncommon Sense, Craig Leonard argues for the contemporary relevance of the aesthetic theory of Herbert Marcuse, an original member of the Frankfurt School and icon of the New Left, while also acknowledging his philosophical limits. This account reinvigorates Marcuse for contemporary readers, putting his aesthetic theory into dialogue with anti-capitalist activism.

Craig Leonard speaks to Pierre d’Alancaisez about anti-art, habit, the practice of defamiliarisation, a subversion of common sense. Leonard brings forward Marcuse’s claim that the aesthetic dimension is political because of its refusal to operate according to the repressive common sense that establishes and maintains relationships dictated by advanced capitalism.

Craig Leonard‘s research and teaching interests include artist publications, sound art, performance and sculpture. His recent exhibitions include Central Art Garage (Ottawa), Darling Green (New York) and Double Happiness (Toronto). He is associate professor of art at NSCAD.